Updated: Apr 3
I think that solo travel is one of the best thing you will ever do. It's the best way to get to know yourself, and to self develop. I travelled extensively alone between 2015 and 2018 through Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Malaysia. I still do trips on my own sometimes, although less so now I'm in a relationship. I absolutely adore solo travel, it's so fulfilling, a little daunting sometimes and gives so much.
Firstly, book your first few nights accommodation before you arrive. Make sure you know the address before you leave, so it's a smooth transition between arriving and getting to your new "home" for a few nights. After that, have more freedom, don't book too far in advance- go with it and see what gets recommended etc.
If you're open to it, most the of time that you travel alone, you won't be alone. Staying in hostels as a solo traveller often means meeting people. In Fiji I arrived alone and spent the whole time with other travellers! Always stay alert when travelling with new people.
Keep those at home updated on your movements. It will be helpful for them but also is a good idea for your safety.
When arriving in a completely new country, I prefer to book the first few nights in a slightly nicer hostel/ hotel that I intend to spend the rest of my trip. Don't push yourself too much- you'll probably turn up tired, flustered and sweaty.
I find eating a largely vegetarian diet whilst travelling especially useful. It's cheaper, it's safer from tummy upsets/ often meats are of unconfirmed origin but (especially in Asia) it's also amazing to see how tasty vegetables can be! Eating veggie is particularly useful if jumping between cooking your own meals at hostels and you don't need to worry about keeping them cold.
Dress sensibly. I'm a strong believer in women being able to dress how they like. However, when alone travelling in new cultures, it's best to be safe.
Pack light and pack natural. You really don’t need much. I’m queen of overpacking and like to be prepared for everything but bitterly regretted taking so much stuff when I was paying per kilo of check in luggage on Air Asia and then carrying three heavy bags in heat and humidity. Trust me- it’s not worth it. Toiletries are easily overpacked- if you see essentials as Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Shampoo and Sanitary products this puts everything else you pack into perspective. I once took 7 lipsticks travelling. I’m so ashamed! That has since changed and I have a big piece of minimalist packing!
Pack a proper medicine bag. You should ALWAYS have medication you require, but I always carry around basics such as ibuprofen, paracetamol, diarrhoea relief and allergy relief. You don’t want to be stuck somewhere, under the weather with no medicine you can trust.
Try to communicate in the native language. In Bali, I said thank-you (Suksma) In Indonesian instead of the more commonly used tourist Bahasa thank-you of Terima Kasih, and I got a loud cheer and a pat on the back. A small thing that makes a huge difference to you and the local communities! It may also come in handy one day, if you need to communicate in an emergency.